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U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, “Testimony on ‘The Crisis in Tibet: Finding a Path to Peace," April 23, 2008

April 23, 2008

For other articles and documents on Tibet, click here.

California Senator Barbara Boxer presided over this hearing. Click on the scheduled speaker’s name to download a pdf version of the planned presentation. Excerpts from each are included below.

John D. Negroponte, Deputy Secretary of State, U.S. Department of State

“A little over a month ago, what began as peaceful protests in Lhasa erupted into violence and the loss of lives and property spanning the Tibet Autonomous Region and other Tibetan areas of China. The United States welcomes a stable, peaceful and prosperous China, and we have a broad agenda with that country, which is a growing economic powerhouse, a nuclear P-5 member, and an increasingly important actor on the international scene. At the same time, we engage China in a way that is supportive of our political values — urging respect for human rights, religious freedom, and democracy. The United States recognizes Tibet as part of the People’s Republic of China, but we have very serious concerns about the recent events, human rights conditions, and limits on religious freedom there. The United States calls upon the PRC Government to exercise restraint in resolving the recent unrest and urges dialogue with the Dalai Lama, but it is up to China and the Tibetans to resolve their differences.

Richard Gere, President, The Gere Foundation and Chairman of the Board, International Campaign for Tibet (ICT)

“On March 10, a vortex opened up over Tibet: the unleashing of countless layers of frustration and resentment. The unrest inside Tibet, which continues to this day, did not start because of the Beijing Olympics. It was not instigated by the Dalai Lama, no matter what the Chinese authorities have so offensively claimed. The spontaneous demonstrations and unrest were the direct result of nearly six decades of brutal repression and calculated efforts to control religious practice and attack the very foundations of the Tibetan religious, cultural, and ethnic identity.”

Lodi Gyari, Special Envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama

“Among the most disturbing elements in Tibet is the segregation of Tibetans from Chinese society. Tibetans are required to stay or return to their registered place of residence… The Chinese government, which, as a tenet of its economic growth strategy has encouraged travel for its citizens, restricts travel for Tibetans.”

Steve Marshall, Senior Advisor, Congressional-Executive Commission on China

“As of today, the situation in Tibetan protest areas is as grim as it is fluid, and will negatively impact tens of thousands of Tibetans. Chinese security forces and government authorities are sealing off protest areas, cutting communications networks and confiscating communications equipment (including mobile phones and computers). As a result, the flow of information from protest areas is much less now than it was weeks ago. Unconfirmed reports tell of severe abuse and maltreatment to detainees—beating, inadequate food and water, and severe overcrowding. Authorities reportedly have transferred substantial numbers of detainees away from their areas of residence, often to locations unknown to their families. Very little information is available about the legal process facing thousands of detained Tibetans. Aggressive reimplementation of political indoctrination campaigns is following swiftly in the wake of crushed protests. Reports are emerging of anger at the new campaigns by monks who refuse to comply with demands to condemn the Dalai Lama. A second wave of detentions is taking shape. Authorities compel ordinary Tibetans to assemble publicly, denounce the Dalai Lama, and state that he was behind the protest and riot activity.”

Lobsang Sangay, Senior Fellow, East Asian Legal Studies Program, Harvard University Law School
“China wants to be a great nation. History has shown that greatness cannot be bought in the marketplace. Greatness must be earned. In the last fifty years, China has transformed itself from a poor nation to a booming economy. The world is mesmerized by its rapid modernization and hopes that along with its economic growth, forward strides will be made by and for its people in all spheres, not just economic. The way China treats Tibet will reflect what kind of great nation China becomes. The present situation presents both a crisis, and a tremendous opportunity -- an opportunity for the Chinese government to demonstrate legitimacy in its leadership and confidence in its position by sitting down to negotiate with the Dalai Lama. Now is the time for the Chinese leadership to demonstrate not only its strength, but also its reason and its compassion as it builds a harmonious society for all.

Other articles and documents on Tibet:

Fifty Years of Democratic Reform in Tibet | Kolas, Tourism and Tibetan Culture in Transition: A Place Called Shangrila | PRC Officials Discuss Tibet Situation with USC Scholars and Students | Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy | Testimony on ‘The Crisis in Tibet: Finding a Path to Peace | Tibet: Problems, Prospects, and U.S. Policy | The Way to Resolve the Tibet Issue | President Obama Meets with the Dalai Lama | On the 'Memorandum' of the Dalai clique | Beijing-Based G-5 Chiefs of Mission on DPRK, GTMO, Uighurs, Sino-Japan Relations, Dalai Lama |